Friday, November 20, 2009

pain management

My experiences with getting through pain are mostly confined to my time in the military. There they say that pain is weakness leaving your body. Pain lets you know you're not dead. No pain no gain.

That's not to say that military life is all about pain, but a big part of training is learning to deal with pain, to work through pain. I have tried explaining this to civilians before, and inevitably they see it as awful, cruel or brainwashing. But if you're going to sign on the dotted line to put your life at risk, it's best they give you every tool there is, even if you'll never need it. I only had to work through pain during physical fitness tests and mandatory exercise programs. Others are not so lucky.

Since I was most likely to experience pain while running, my pain management process developed around Jody calls.

These are the chants and songs that military folks often sing when they're marching or running in a group. They are called Jody calls, as Wiki explains, because of the old school cadence calls that featured a guy "whose luxurious lifestyle is contrasted with military deprivations in a number of traditional calls."

(As an aside, when my dad married my mom I was still a baby, and he had never sung lullaby, so he took to singing Marine Corps Jody calls to me while rocking me to sleep. Unfortunately, most of those are rated R. Fortunately I didn't pick up any of the bad words or concepts. Just the traditional Marine grunt of approval, which according to dad was my first 'word').

Now a days I think most Jodies are about bravery. Or beer. Or both.

I would sing them to myself while running. It didn't matter if I only got one or two words out between breaths, just that I was focused on the rhythm of the Jody.

So it should come as no surprise that the first thing that pops into my head when I get these beginnings of contractions is a Jody. Right now it's one in particular, but as these things spread out/get longer, I can see going from one Jody to another, just as I would on a run.

It's just a good thing I live in NYC, where people sing to themselves all the time. I have more than once found that I was actually singing out loud (though softly) while I'm walking to the bus and dealing with a contraction. Since I have headphones on, people can assume I'm singing to some song on my mp3.

These contractions, by the way, are the beginning. They're not active labor. They're sort of pre contractions that gradually get the body ready. So it's not like I'm wandering around NYC in labor.


  1. Just don't have the baby on the bus! :)

  2. I couldn't help laughing at "So it's not like I'm wandering around NYC in labor." That would be kinda hilarious.


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